Unite union members at the Fujitsu Services IT company were voting on a new deal on jobs, pay and pensions this week. The workers have taken ten days of strikes since December in the battle.
Their fight, the first national strike in the IT industry, resulted in 1,200 proposed redundancies being reduced to less than 900. Of these less than 50 are people who want to keep their jobs.
The dispute has seen a big increase in union membership at the firm.
The company has made a new offer to the workers, which has gone out to ballot.
The deal includes:
- No compulsory redundancies before 26 March.
- A review of compulsory redundancies at the end of February. The company will consider requests from individuals to continue working their notice beyond 26 March.
- Pay rises from 1 March for the lowest paid staff, who are on less than £12,000 a year.
- The company will seek to develop a more open and transparent pay system this year.
- The company will also engage with Unite on pay and pension issues in the future.
Unite has suspended all action while the ballot is on. It has recommended members should vote to accept the deal.
But the defiant spirit seen on picket lines and protests around the country could have won much more than is on offer.
Many workers will vote against the deal, as it does not match their demands on any of the issues they struck over.
They will be right to do so. The failure of Unite’s national leaders to push the campaign forward with all their strength, despite members elsewhere facing similar issues, undermined the confidence to fight for more.
The bigger the vote against the deal, the stronger the position of the union to fight to defend workers’ rights and conditions in the future.
For more information go to www.ourunion.org.uk